It Came Upon a Midnight Shear
Welcome back to our annual blog series spotlighting (over 60 again this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads!
Christmas is only 17 days away, according to Google, but of course it’s never too early for Christmas stories, and ’tis the season when I really start craving them (even more than I do the rest of the year lol), so now is the perfect time to jump right into these posts!
Continuing through just after Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several Christmasy releases from 2022. Most days will have more than one post, just FYI. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT SHEAR by Allie Pleiter
SERIES: Riverbank Knitting Mysteries #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2022
A murder in her yarn shop’s backyard puts Libby Beckett’s holiday plans on thin ice.…
The holiday season looks merry and bright for Libby and her friends at Y.A.R.N. The store is expanding for a holiday boom, and she’s gathered Collinstown’s businesses to decorate a community Christmas tree. Dashing “Gallant Herdsman” Vincenzo Marani arrives to showcase the rare vicuña, whose coat produces the world’s most luxurious yarn. It’s a perfect yuletide—until Libby’s ex-husband, Sterling, turns up in town…and then turns up dead.
The murder unravels Libby’s life faster than a hand-knit Christmas stocking. The luxe yarn goes missing, Sterling’s domineering family comes to town, and the vicuña attempt an escape. If Libby can’t stitch up a solution to the case, she may be trading in her knitting needles for a set of handcuffs.
A Brief Guide to Animals in Books
by Allie Pleiter, author of It Came Upon a Midnight Shear
It doesn’t surprise me at all that readers tell me they enjoy the animals in my Riverbank Knitting Mysteries. From the flock of protest sheep in KNIT OR DYE TRYING to the unique vicuña we meet in IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT SHEAR, animals are in the spotlight. I’ve discovered, however, that there are a few things to remember about their place in my stories:
- They ought to be cute. Really cute.
One look at the vicuña and I knew I had to give them a story. Sure, they are the source of the world’s most expensive and luxurious yarn, but they’re just plain adorable, too. We love to read about animals that are easy to love. Now, sometimes that means they’re so non-cute that they’re lovable in a scruffy, somebody’s-gotta-love-you-anyway fashion. No one would call Libby’s English bulldog Hank debonair, but his jowly, chubby loyalty wins your heart all the same. Maybe that’s why Hank doesn’t get along with those cutie-pie camelids the vicuña—they’re wide-eyed sweetness is stealing his spotlight. No worries, Hank, we love you. You’re a Riverbank Knitting Mysteries regular and the vicuña are just this book’s guest stars.
- They can’t get hurt. At all.
Oh, how I wrung my hands over the tiny needle-prick that Hank gets in one chapter. It’s essential to the plot, but I worried over how readers would take it. I made sure it wasn’t a serious injury, and I made sure readers knew right away that Hank was in no real danger. One of the unwritten primary rules of light-hearted fiction (yes, I consider my murder mysteries light-hearted fiction) is “harm no animals.” When the vicuña make their break for it—hilarious as the scene is—I make sure they all are returned safely to their temporary home with The Gallant Herdsman.
- Unique ones are fun to learn about.
I like to learn something new when I read a book. Readers have told me they’ve enjoyed learning about this extraordinary Andean cousin to the alpaca. The story of how the vicuña were saved from extinction, how they are gathered up once every three years to be shorn for their exquisite coats, and the community that tends them is as compelling as the softness of the yarn itself. What would make someone be willing to pay that much money for a small ball of yarn? Touching it will tell you the answer right away, but I hope reading the book is the next best thing.
- We love it when they move the plot forward.
If an animal appears in a book, you don’t want it to be just window dressing. Those of us who love animals know just how much personality they have and how they are unique in their character traits. Hank literally digs up important clues in IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT SHEAR. He is Libby’s comfort and support, even when he’s shredding her couch cushions to show his displeasure at being displaced by four doe-eyed guests. I make sure Hank plays a crucial role in every Riverbank Knitting Mystery plot because he’s as much a leading player as Libby or Margo or Rhonda of Mayor Gavin. I expect you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you have a favorite fictional animal character?
The bestselling author of over fifty titles, Allie Pleiter‘s twenty-year career has sold 1.6 million books. Allie also coaches on writing productivity and speaks nationally on time management for creatives. Allie is an avid knitter, confirmed coffee junkie and firm believer that “pie makes everything better.” She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and the world’s most adorable dog. Connect with her at her website.
Allie Pleiter is offering a print copy of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read It Came Upon a Midnight Shear by Allie Pleiter? Do you have a favorite fictional animal character?